It’s back again like low rise jeans – the 2022 Kirihimete gift guide, where we share our picks from Māori and Pasifika businesses and makers that you can support by buying their beautiful wares for friends and whānau this Christmas (and beyond).
The good and bad news is, there are so many amazing makers in Aotearoa we couldn’t fit them all in here. Many of your faves will likely have been featured in previous years’ guides so make sure to check those out too (honestly, it’s an embarrassment of riches), and keep an eye on local markets and makers in your area. When you find a gem, share it with us on Instagram and you’ll go in the draw to win one of two AWWA Lush bra and undie sets*.
Let’s be honest, sometimes you don’t even know where to begin, so we’re starting with the places that sell a whole range of things, on behalf of other brands and makers as well as their own products. Links to some of these sites will appear again elsewhere, but sometimes it’s nice just to peruse first.
InnoNative, based in Whangārei, is still one of the best markets for Māori makers and local Te Tai Tokerau products. Books, beauty and rongoā, toys, taonga, kai and kākahu.
Lucky Whangārei also has the whānau-owned Hine Raumati, but thanks to the miracle of online shopping, so do the rest of us. Stationary, books, bags, kākahu and jewellery.
Moana Fresh remains one of the coolest stores and galleries in Tāmaki. Art, prints, books, homeware, clothes and beautiful objects by tāngata from all over Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa.
Likewise Konei platforms Māori and Pasifika makers, plus they help entrepreneurs with mentoring and networking so your purchases go toward supporting an expanding empire of Indigenous excellence. Homeware, beauty, jewellery, prints, stationary, games and toys.
Iti focuses on more traditional Māori crafts and design, but pai kare there’s heaps to choose from. Ties, scarves, socks, perfume, tea and homewares.
Raakau Aroha is a father and daughter team from Hokianga who create beautiful woodware, including bowls, candles and hei taringa. We’re loving the kauri platter set. You can also buy directly from their Instagram.
Goddammit we love a good knife, and this hunting and boning knife from Prime Artisan Knives is an incredibly special piece for an incredibly special person. You can also message directly on Instagram for commissions.
Tivaevae Collectibles is a mother and daughter-owned business keeping the art of Cook Island tivaevae (traditional quilting) alive. Both the quilts and cushions are divine. They also offer tivaevae classes in Rarotonga and Auckland.
We’re obsessed with Misma Anaru Ceramics’ organisers. Perfect for make up, art supplies, or even flower arrangements.
Avara Studio make all kinds of cool ceramics – mugs, vases, candle holders, earrings – but we’re especially loving the wavy mirrors in a ceramic base.
Hāna Botanicals room sprays and candles make any space warm and inviting (their skincare range is also stunning).
Kākahu and accessories
Raumati in Aotearoa means hats. Everyone needs a good pōtae and frankly, there’s nothing cooler than a traditional harakeke one with your top knot popping out the top. A selection by weaver Hazel Grace can be found in Nichola Te Kiri’s excellent store (and while you’re there check out her other awesome designs). Māori Gallery also has some beautiful, bright colours, or keep an eye on pages like Toi Māori – Buy, Sell and Trade, where you can buy directly from makers that aren’t in stores.
Based in Rarotonga, Manini make the dreamiest women’s wear that immediately transports you to the islands. We’re loving the oversized kiki shirt in light turtle to chuck on over togs. Committed to zero waste, they also use their offcuts to create packaging and hair ties.
Socks are… inevitable at Christmas time, but won’t you feel better knowing you bought locally made ones from one of the coolest designers in Aotearoa? Turumeke Harrington brings a cheekiness we love to all her design and artwork. We’ve featured her jewellery before but don’t sleep on her socks, bags and tea towels.
My Taiao’s range of te reo and mātauranga-inspired fleece and oilskins is perfect for the whānau that loves going bush. Added bonus, they’re made from recycled materials and come in biodegradable packaging.
Not only is Stacey Fluhler a star on the rugby field, but she also has her own range of damn adorable, sweat-resistant scrunchies. You know, to keep your hair out of your face when you’re smoking England in the final. They even come in your favourite club colours. Up the mighty Black Ferns!
Tū Tama Wāhine o Taranaki are a kaupapa Māori organisation working to heal trauma in their community. To help supplement their funding, they sell a range of excellently provocative shopping bags (as well as books that align with their mahi). A good reminder that anywhere can be a site of resistance, including the supermarket.
Soil and Sand have a cool range of basketball tees, work out gear and hoodies but we’re really into the uniquely Māori jibbitz – you know, the little decorative thingies that clip into your Crocs. Don’t worry, your kids know what they are and they’ll love these in their Christmas stocking.
OK so it’s not exactly knit weather, but OTT Knits are too beautiful to ignore and slow fashion is good for Papatūānuku (and let’s be honest, whānau in Te Wai Pounamu still need a woolly in the summertime). Made using second hand and discarded mohair.
The Wear Kindness tees from the Kindness Collective have a beautiful message and kaupapa. Designed by artists Kiri Nathan, Lissy Cole and Māori Mermaid, all profits go towards the Christmas Joy Store, a “free” store where 10,000 kids get to choose Christmas presents off the shelf. The tees are cool in themselves, but if you feel so inclined, you can also donate directly to the store.
It’s such a simple concept, but Shakks Collective’s customised kamupūtu are perfect for those whanaunga whose “good” shoes are the clean Red Bands. DM through Instagram to order.
Kauae Raro are an artist collective that are all about whenua – clay, soil and rocks are all media they research and use in their work. They also happen to make rad, and radical, merch, which is all excellent but we particularly like the new bandanas.
The Āhuru satin robes from Revolution Aotearoa just look like a dream to lounge around in this summer.
Awwa have revolutionised period care underwear in this country, but have now gone beyond the functional to create underwear that is super cute, comfortable and comes in every style imaginable (with kits especially for teens). The new Lush bra and undie sets are majorly cool.
Taonga and jewellery
As always, there’s a surfeit of really great earrings around! Danika Cooper specialises in delicate, black Tahitian pearls that are just so elegant. Perfect for someone who deserves something extra special this year.
Taonga Puawai make the sweetest, laser-cut acrylic native flower earrings that get prettier with every new range they release. Currently they have horokaka, ngutu kākā, mānuka, koromiko and more, plus a new drop of earrings will be released on November 24.
Named for the Tongan word for “treasure”, Koloa captures pieces of ngatu, tapa and fala inside their jewellery so that you can have this most special of gifts with you all the time. We love that each piece is unique.
Ahi Raranga, as the name suggests, makes woven harakeke pieces that come imbued with karakia by the maker. We especially love the activist drop, as it comes with a piece of Ranginui, a piece of Papatūānuku and a piece of Tangaroa. Watch their Instagram for details about their raranga workshops too.
Toi by Teez makes “small batch, slow made” clay earrings, a concept and execution we love very much. The kōkiri earring, based on a tewhatewha, would look equally great with your ‘fit as it would on the kapa haka stage.
Pāmu has you sorted for understated and elegant gold pieces, with a really cool option to create your own jewellery set to gift to someone.
Waiapu Road will help you rep your peeps with their range of iwi stud and drop earrings (Apanui, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi, Raukawa, Taranaki, Te Arawa, Whakatōhea, Tūhoe and Tūwharetoa at least).
And finally on the earring front, you just can’t go past Miss Maia’s big, beautiful, bold style. It’s evergreen.
We’re big fans of Ngāpuhi designer Frances Stachl, particularly the kanohi and harikoa rings. They just make us happy!
On the subject of rings, we’re obsessed with these rainbow gems (all ethically sourced) from Opal Downes Jewellery who donates a percentage of proceeds to Rainbow Youth. Ten per cent of sales from these rings specifically are going to Pride Whanganui.
Tirea Collective’s heru (wooden hair adornments) are just divine, but you have to be quick off the mark to snap up their pieces when they drop them on their Instagram.
Art and crafts
We’re loving the harakeke pīkau (backpacks) from Kete by Chloe. Prices and sales are available on her Instagram, but give her one to two weeks to make them!
Frances Nation, an excellent little store for local artisans in Ōtautahi, also stocks kete and waikawa by weavers Robin Thomas and Kahurangi Carter. Kiriana O’Connell is another weaver who does beautiful things with pattern and colour, also available here.
Taiao Creative have a really special range of taonga pūoro, including pūmoana (seashells), koauau (flutes) and hue rarā (shakers).
Maru Creations are worth keeping on your radar even though their woven kākahu and jewellery need a bit of time to commission. If not for Christmas, then perhaps a special event in 2023. We thought they were just too talented to exclude.
Bring new meaning to being patched up with these wāhine toa, takatāpuhi and BLM Aotearoa fabric patches from O Te Motu (whose famous recycled-tyre huia feather earrings we’ve featured before).
You might not have heard of 15-year old Georgia Latu, but if you’re one of the thousands of people who attended a recent Rugby World Cup game, you may have twirled one of her Pōtiki Poi around with wild enthusiasm (from a fundraising idea at age 12 to supplying 27,000 poi to Eden Park – just wow). Pōtiki Poi has high-quality short and long poi in lots of colours, plus games, books and a cool make-your-own poi pack.
Tamariki, games and toys
If you have whānau expecting a new pēpi, the Taiao Creative pēpi pack comes with a muka tie and a pounamu cutter and wooden board for the special act of cutting the umbilical cord. For parents just starting to introduce baby to kai, how about a subscription to unique new baby food service, Yawye Babies. The brand aims to “decolonise” our palettes by introducing tamariki to native kai as early as possible, with ingredients like taro, kamokamo, peruperu, and palusami. Reka!
Kekoa are doing their bit for Papatūānuku with their reusable cloth nappies in beautiful, and safe, fabrics.
Bo and Ko have milestone cards for baby in Māori, Sāmoan and Tongan, as well as beautiful playmats featuring a range of Pacific designs.
Rauemi NZ have heaps of taonga for tamariki, like tītī torea (traditional stick games), poi and dolls in cute kākahu.
Piri Pāua have gorgeous learning resources in te reo Māori and gagana Sāmoa, including a cool block game in both languages for learning the names of colours.
If you happen to be a parent that likes to dress your mini-you in a matching outfit (no judgment), Waiapu Road sells many of their dresses in mini sizes for tamariki. Too pīwari.
The Build Your Own Wharenui kit lets kids build while learning the names of the different parts of the whare (a handy and fun resource for adults too).
No long summer night is complete without a deck of cards. This beautiful deck from Tohu Road comes with a twist – the face cards are replaced with atua (gods), rangatira (chiefs), puhi (high-born women) and toa (warriors), and the four suits are now the natural elements.
The board game Kaupapa continues to be one of the most fun ways for whānau and friends to practise their te reo, and can be played at any level, with players who are all at different levels. It incorporates elements of charades and Taboo with cheeky challenges from the Māui cards to keep you on your toes.
Kai and inu
Honey is just never a bad present, and these pakihi Māori sell some of the best in the world. The rewarewa honey from Te Urewera’s Manawa is bliss (as they all are). Go Wild from Rēkohu Chatham Islands harvest one of the rarest honeys in the world, from the tarahina tree (at one time thought by scientists to be extinct until they found it growing in abundance on Rēkohu). Go Wild do something spectacular to it, however – they freeze dry it. Melt in your mouth honey dust? Yes please.
Wakanavu have made it super easy to get kava here in Aotearoa. A gift pack with bilos and tanoa would make a beautiful present for friends who are missing Fiji this summer.
We’ve featured the beautiful teas from Kapu Tī before, now why not try the refreshing fermented tī from Waikirikau. A box of 12 in their handmade wooden crates would make a perfect gift for a non-drinker or just look great at a Christmas party. But wait there’s more – Timmy Smith also sells a delicious, artisanal tea in leaf form and a refreshing beverage in a can, plus the talented Waiheke maker stocks beautiful tea-making gear like cups and saucers, leaf shaped strainers and delicate wooden spoons and bowls.
Chocolatier Tom Hilton aka Ao Cacao makes some of the most luxurious chocolate in the world, for real. You can pre-order the Christmas collection now, which includes flavours like dad’s pavlova and nan’s trifle.
Health and beauty
Our ancestors knew a lot about which plants can heal from the inside out. Katerina Scott started out using her knowledge of rongoā Māori to create kawakawa and kūmerahou tonics to help ease the side effects of medicines for a severe illness. From there she grew her Nutrakawa business, with all ingredients for her teas, tonics and balms harvested in accordance with tikanga ā-rongoā.
Seasick is a new sunscreen brand that uses natural, sustainable ingredients and plastic-free packaging. A cute stocking stuffer for the beach bunnies in your whānau.
If you have friends who love having their nails did, the nail foils and transfers from Prim Improper are the one. Proudly wear your taha Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Sāmoa, Tonga, Cook Islands or Māori on your claws (plus heaps of other styles). They even list a directory of nail techs all over Aotearoa who have worked with the brand and can apply them professionally, if you don’t quite have the skills to do it at home.
Those of us with the thick, beautiful hair of our Polynesian ancestors know how inadequate Western-style haircare can be. Eithne Curran is a Tongan hair and make-up artist who has developed a line of hydrating products with sustainable, ethical and cruelty free ingredients.
Likewise, Kālaekkō have a range of hair oils, gels, creams and shampoos specifically for Pacific and afro curly hair.
Pieces of Piawai also have products especially for keeping locs healthy and hydrated.
Poipoia balms, soaps and oils use beautiful native ingredients to nurture your kiri. We love the whenua clay mask and the kawakawa-infused beard oil.
Manea beauty bar soaps and balms are completely free from plastic packaging and use essential oils and cocoa butter.
For gorgeous scents, Curionoir continues to set the bar in perfumery in Aotearoa. Their 50ml minis last a long time and are a small but special way to show your appreciation.
Hinu from the taramea tree was traditionally worn as a fragrance by Ngāi Tahu, often blended with other ferns, mosses and oils. Mea, a business venture from Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, have revived this ancient fragrance and created four unique, unisex scents.
* Closes 12pm Friday November 25. More details at instagram.com/thespinofftv